Marion Bartoli left out of France's Fed Cup team
France captain Nicolas Escude left Marion Bartoli out of his Fed Cup team to face Spain in next week's World Group playoffs, saying the player's ''totally incompatible'' coaching structure makes her selection ''impossible.''
Escude selected Alize Cornet, Mathilde Johansson, Virgine Razzano and Aravane Rezai on Wednesday, with Pauline Parmentier as reserve for the April 16-17 matchup on outdoor clay in Lerida, Spain.
The 12th-ranked Bartoli is a former Wimbledon finalist, but has clashed with Escude and the French tennis federation over her independent coaching setup with her father.
Mutual criticisms have abounded between Escude and the 26-year-old Bartoli in recent weeks.
''Marion and I spoke on the phone to clarify the situation, and she apologized to me. But the problem remains the same,'' Escude said. ''Her way of working with her father, their structure, the way they train and the fact they want to be inseparable from each other, all of this makes her integration into the team impossible.
''They know as well as I do that it's totally incompatible.''
Bartoli's continued absence is a blow, however. Rezai is ranked 24th, Cornet 67th, Johansson 70th and Razzano 100th.
France has never dropped out of the World Group and is level with Spain at 4-4 in previous matchups.
''Whatever the sport, this country is always hard to beat at their place,'' Escude said. ''The Spanish have virtually won everything on clay since the start of the season. They will be a hard team to beat, especially on clay.''
France lost to Russia in the first round. Spain is bidding to reach the World Group after a year outside the elite.
In a reversal of fortune, Rezai is back after pulling out of the Russia match in February over what she felt were scathing media reports regarding her tennis entourage, which also includes her father.
Escude said he has had several telephone conversations with the 24-year-old Rezai recently.
''It's a very good thing to see her coming back into the team,'' Escude said. ''She's feeling better on every level.''
Escude also smoothed things over with Cornet, having heavily criticized her in the press following her reverse singles loss to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in February. France had led Russia 2-0 after the opening singles.
''We got things out in the open, I listened to what she had to say to me, and she listened to what I had to say from my side,'' Escude said. ''We came to an understanding, and the matter is now closed.''
Julie Coin, ranked 344th, dropped out. She lost the doubles match against Russia alongside Cornet in Moscow.
''She won't be part of this adventure,'' Escude said. ''She has had some problems for a little while. Her ranking has dipped enormously.''